Michele Erwin is the Founder and President of All Wheels Up. Her interest in accessible air travel began in 2011 when it became clear traveling with a person who has a severe physical disability and uses a wheelchair was not safe. Today, Michele works to further accessible air travel through research related initiatives. All Wheels Up is the only organization in the world currently crash testing wheelchair tie-down systems and wheelchairs for in-cabin use. Michele has been interviewed and quoted in multiple publications/media such as Aviation Week Magazine, BBC, Yahoo Travel, Yahoo Japan, Aljazeera America Magazine, quoted in the Christopher & Dana Reeve foundation travel blog and other notable travel and disability blogs. Most recently Michele was a speaker at the Virgin Atlantic inaugural wheelchairs for in-cabin use Symposium. She has also presented her work to the FAA, DOT, Congress, the Senate committee on commerce, science and transportation, the United States House Transportation committee, RESNA, multiple Airlines, plane manufactures and the Access Board.
Michele is the recipient of the 2018 NCIL Region 6 advocate of the year award and nominated for the Global Genes, “2017 RARE champion of Hope.” The United States House Transportation committee consider All Wheels Up a leader in the field.
Michele has taken a small grass Roots organization with no name recognition to an organization being spoken about in congressional meetings and by airlines around the world. Michele is now in working groups in the EU, UK, and a part of an informal coalition for accessible air travel in the United States. The Organizations in the US informal Coalition for accessible air travel consists of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Easter Seals, and the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association. Not only does Michele and All Wheels Up have the support of many organizations that support the disability community, but Michele and All Wheels UP have the support of Virgin Atlantic and Airbus who have requested her help in making accessible air travel possible.
Michele has made an impossible discussion a now important topic of conversation based on the research and facts.
You can support All Wheels Up mission for accessible air travel below
John Morris is the globetrotting Founder of WheelchairTravel.org, known for traveling the world with one hand, a passport and a power wheelchair. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a Master’s degree in history from Florida State University. After a serious motor vehicle accident in 2012, John was left a triple amputee and wheelchair user. Having flown nearly one million miles as a wheelchair user, he has become one of the strongest advocates for accessibility and inclusion within the travel industry. He shares his vision for an accessible world with both travel providers and the community at large.
Jeff Butler is a Paralympian, entrepreneur, and professional speaker. After breaking his neck when he was 13 years old, he found his passion: becoming an elite athlete and participating in the Paralympics.
In 2016, Jeff won a silver medal with Team USA at the Rio Paralympic games. Next stop: Tokyo 2020.
Subscribe to his YouTube channel for disability product reviews and a behind the scenes look at a life lived on four wheels.
Julienne Dallara is a professional who has traveled all over the world. She lived and worked in London, Alaska, Hawaii and Southern California before waking up paralyzed in 1986 from a rare disease – Transverse Myelitis.
Julienne flies frequently in her role as a Sales Rep for the Abilities Expo. After a flight attendant told her that an airplane could have up to 15 people with disabilities on a single flight, and that those people were the last ones out in case of emergency, Julienne purchased her first ADAPTS sling from the Kickstarter campaign.
Having seen the enthusiastic reception that ADAPTS receives from consumers at the Abilities Expos, Julienne chose to join ADAPTS as a Community Advisory Council member, representative and unabashed fan. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @JulienneExpo on Twitter.
Rafik Rifo wasted no time to going back to school for sound engineering after his 2014 accident that resulted in T2/T3 SCI (Spinal Cord Injury). He had a passion for making music professionally since high school and now spends a big portion of time on sound editing for TV ads and helping organizations and young student artists with their video/sound projects.
He credits the support from the people he met during his recovery who made it possible for him to regain some of his previous life, so he felt the need to return the favor by giving back to his new community. He is a volunteer at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehab Center and an active member of Pushrim Organization where he shares his experience to help others, especially the newly injured, overcome some of the challenges they face after injury.
Rafik first learned of ADAPTS when he was invited to participate in a focus group to offer product feedback early in the design phase. His motto is “Be so driven, that even if you were in reverse, you’d still be going forward.”